Twenty years ago, I began my course work as a pre-medical student at Seattle University in Washington. During my time in college, I worked as a research technician at the University of Washington-Dept of Neurology studying neurosyphilis. To elucidate more about the bacteria, Treponema pallidum, I would perform a variety of procedures on laboratory animals to reduce their pain. By happenstance, the medication that I used regularly was ketamine! I didn’t think much of it at the time, but a seed had been planted.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic condition affecting 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children in the United States. This disorder is characterized by intrusive, repetitive thoughts and behaviors. Interfering with work, interpersonal relationships, and in general, patients’ enjoyment of life, OCD can have a devastating effect due to its debilitating nature. The only FDA approved treatment for OCD are serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs), but the effects of these are limited. Meaningful improvement can take up to 6 to 10 weeks and symptom relief is limited. To find a better way to treat this disorder, researchers at Columbia University conducted a study involving ketamine infusions.